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My job brought me to London for a month. It is now two weeks I am here, living by a very nice family near Westham (how many cries and sobs did I hear, right this afternoon...), I have to work in Stratford and I try to go in the center of London as often as possible, to make the most of all the things to see there.
So I travel by train. So I spend a lot of money.
London underground is organised in zones. It's a very usual thing with underground networks (just notice how professionnal I sound, stating that, whereas I indeed know only two underground networks, the londonian and the parisian ones). The very center of the city is zone 1, and the more you go far from it, the more the number of the zone you're in is important. I think there is 6 zones for the underground network (and even more for the DLR network).
The price you pay depends on the zone you're living in (or at least depends on your habitual departure point) and the zone you're going to. I am living in zone 4 and am working in the same area. The first days, I thought I could pay my travels day by day, going in zone 1 only occasionnally. But I soon have paid 20£ and I hadn't had the feeling of making unecessary travels. So I choosed a 7 day ticket, realizing it is very difficult not to spend plenty of money on the transport network...
Those season tickets are available for 7 days or for a month. Four seven days season tickets or one month ticket will cost almost the same, so you'd better begin with a seven days if you're not sure the zones fit you well. Because your interest is to try to buy the season ticket corresponding the best to your needs : tickets could be available just for two zones or for the six, and the more zones there is, the more you bank. For my part, I pay 30£ a week to travel between zone 1 and 4.
I use the Oyster car, that kind of so fashion blue card you have to pass before an optical eye each time you go in and each time you go out of a station. The Oyster card is also at work in buses or on the DLR network and the system is made to help you gain time because you just have to put money on it and the cost of your travels is automatically substracted. It is also said to help you win money by allowing lower travel costs, but it's not quite blatant.
So, at the end of my month, I'd probably have spend more than 140£ in London's transports, that is to say more than what I spend in Bordeaux during a whole year.
But if I hadn't, it would have be very hard to travel in London, for the underground network is surely the more convenient way to travel in that city.
Enven the stations in themselves are convenient : all the indications are clear and you can reach your platform easily even when you're not accustomed to London. And it is the same for the entire network : deciding of your way, changing lines or finding where you have to go is very simple, much more simple than in Paris for example. Within two lines, you can always reach the finest places of the city, thanks to the way the lines are crossing. Looking at a plan of the network helps understand how easy it is to travel that way : the city is kind of squared by the lines, you just have to know which line is yours and if you go east or west (sometimes north or south)...
And I have no regret for eventually I saw the famous blue circle with the red rectangle crossing it, and I heard every morning that soft feminine voice ordering me to mind the gap, so it was worth the price after all !
London Underground By Design is the beautifully illustrated new book from Mark Ovenden, ... more
the acclaimed author of Great Railway Maps of the World, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Tube in 2013. Since its establishment 150 years ago as the world's first urban subway, the London Underground has continuously set a benchmark for design that has influenced transit systems from New York to Tokyo, Moscow to Paris and beyond. London Underground by Design is the first meticulous study of every aspect of that feat, a comprehensive history of one of the world's most celebrated design achievements, and of the visionaries who brought it to life. Beginning in the pioneering Victorian age, Mark Ovenden charts the evolution of architecture, branding, typeface, map design, interior and textile styles, posters, signage and graphic design and how these came together to shape not just the Underground's identity, but the character of London itself.This is the story of celebrated designers - from Frank Pick, the guru who conceptualised the modern Tube's look under the 'design fit for purpose' mantra, to Harry Beck, Tube diagram creator, and from Marion Dorn, one of the twentieth century's leading textile designers, to Edward Johnston, creator of the distinctive font that bears his name, as well as Leslie Green, designer of central London's distinctive ruby-red tiled stations, and the Design Research Unit's head, Misha Black, who in the 1960s rebranded British Railways and created the Victoria line's distinctive style, and Sir Norman Foster, architect of Canary Wharf station. Fascinating ...authoritative ...bristles with photographs I've never seen before ...the book does ample justice to a network that - overcrowded and overpriced - is a glorious palimpsest of design. (Andrew Martin, Observer). I wouldn't ordinarily enthuse about one book at such length, but this is an important work ...not because it's an entertaining read (it is), but because it identifies the birth of a brand ...and records the birth of a new
Imagine life without the London Underground...The iconic Tube has been transporting ... more
Londoners around Britain's capital for 150 years, and today 150,000 passengers use the Underground every hour. This fascinating miscellany takes us on a round-trip through every aspect of the London Underground, from the history of its construction to its many appearances in books, films and popular music, giving a glimpse into the technical marvels beneath our feet and the many human stories that play out in its trains and tunnels every day. 1845: A pamphlet is published in which Charles Pearson, a London lawyer, pushes the idea of an underground railway to transport both passengers and goods to the city centre. 1863: On 10 January the Metropolitan Railway goes down in the history books when it opens the first subterranean railway in the world. 1998: A previously undiscovered breed of mosquito, adapted to life underground, is discovered living in the Tube network. 2012: Close to one million people use the Northern line alone, every day.